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Do I Need to Wear a Mask in My Car?

man driving mask
By Elizabeth Hanes, BSN, RNJune 24, 2020

If you’ve been on the road lately and noticed other drivers sporting face masks, you might've wondered if they know something you don’t – Should I be wearing a mask while driving my car? If you’re traveling alone, then no. You don’t need to wear a face covering in the car if no one else is in there with you.

That said, you may find yourself in other situations that make wearing a mask while driving a good idea. For example:

  • If you’re in the car with people who do not reside with you (in this case, it might be a good idea to avoid using the “recirculation” setting on your air conditioner or to open the car windows for air circulation)
  • If you’re sick and have other people in the car
  • If you feel anxious about being out in public right now, and keeping a mask on comforts you
  • If you’re traveling a short distance between stops and don’t want to take the mask off only to have to put it back on again immediately

Since it’s generally a good idea to avoid touching your face mask (because it might be germy), it makes sense to just leave it on for a while instead of taking it on and off frequently. But if you do drive with it, understand that wearing a mask can reduce your field of vision. Always weigh the benefits of wearing a mask in your car against the potential risks involved.

Basically, when it comes to mask-wearing, think of your car as an extension of your home: Would you wear a face covering in your living room? You might – if a repairman had to come in to fix your electrical wiring or something. But most of the time you would not wear a face mask inside your house, and you can use the same thinking to decide if you should don a mask in the car.

 

 

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